Columbia’s astronauts ignited flames and fluid droplets and talked with the Mir Space Station today as this Microgravity Science Laboratory mission entered its fifth day on orbit.
Commander Jim Halsell told flight controllers this morning that he had a successful SAREX (Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment) contact with American astronaut Mike Foale on board the Mir Space Station. In two brief contacts between 8 and 8:30 a.m. central time today, Halsell reported Foale was in "fantastic spirits" and had extended his best wishes to the crew of STS-94 on its mission. At the same time, Pilot Susan Still reported she could see Mir at a distance of about 145 nautical miles.
Science activities continued smoothly today with Red team members – Halsell, Still, Mission Specialist Don Thomas and Payload Specialist Greg Linteris – working steadily in the Spacelab module in Columbia’s payload bay. Shortly after 1 p.m., they were relieved by the Blue team – Payload Commander Janice Voss, Mission Specialist Mike Gernhardt and Payload Specialist Roger Crouch. At the request of the crew, flight controllers canceled four hours of scheduled off-duty time for Voss and Crouch this evening after they reported feeling well rested and comfortable with the pace of work on board. The payload community is now developing additional science activities to take advantage of the four-hours of unexpected crew time.
Tonight’s experiments will continue to focus on the study of combustion processes in a microgravity environment.
The Red team began an eight-hour sleep period just after 3 p.m. today and will be awakened just after 11 p.m. central time to once again assume responsibility for orbiter and science operations.
Columbia’s systems continue to operate properly, providing a stable platform for microgravity science operations as the Shuttle circles the Earth every 90 minutes
The next STS-94 status report will be issued about 6 a.m. central time.
- end -